Honey-cardamom almonds

November 1, 2010 at 11:36 pm (B_, Derek's faves, Other)


Years ago my friend Katrina gave me a little cookbook called “Party Nuts!”  Derek always makes the same recipe out of it:  hot candied walnuts.  He wanted to make them again last night but we didn’t have enough walnuts.  Second choice were the holy mole pecans, but I didn’t have corn starch.  So we chose this recipe instead.  This recipe is simpler than many of the others in the book–it requires only honey, sugar, spices, and a skillet.  No baking needed!  The head notes says that the almonds are slightly sticky, slightly peppery, and slightly sweet, and that it’s almost impossible to tell what the spices are.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1.5 to 2 tsp. ground cardamom, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups raw whole almonds

Instructions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchmenet paper.
  2. Place the sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl, mix well, and set aside.
  3. Place the honey in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the almonds and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the honey has been absorbed by the almonds and any remaining honey is a deep amber color, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the almonds from the heat, add a small amount of the sugar mixture, and toss.   Add the remaining sugar mixture, a little bit at a time, and toss with the almonds until all the mixture has been used.
  5. Transfer the almonds to the prepared sheet and arrange in a single layer; separate the almonds with a fork or your hands.  Let cool before serving.

My notes:

These almonds did not crisp up.  They didn’t get the nice shattery texture of toasted almonds.  And the coating was more than slightly sticky.  It was supremely sticky.  I decided to try to crisp the nuts up, and put them in a not-too-hot oven for about 30 minutes.  That brief stint in the oven made a big difference to the texture of both the nuts and the coating.  The coating was still sticky, but only slightly so.  The flavor of the coating is nice, slightly sticky, peppery, and sweet, as the headnote says.   It’s also more than slightly salty.  But we used fleur de sel since we can’t get kosher salt, and maybe that was a mistake.  The cardamom is present but not at all overpowering.

Sally Sampson, the cookbook author, suggests serving these almonds with oranges or chopped, over winter squash soup.

Rating: B

Derek: A-

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